(scmp.com) From preschool toddlers to high-ranking executives, the heirs of some of the wealthiest are poised to inherit massive fortunes.
Many of the young heirs of famous billionaires, including the children of the richest people in tech and the richest people in business, will receive large inheritances, if they haven’t already. Meanwhile, other billionaires have promised to give some, most, or, in Warren Buffett’s case, all, of their wealth away.
We looked at the 35 richest people and families using real-time data from Forbes’ billionaire index. We listed those who have children under the age of 40 and ordered the list of heirs by their parents’ wealth, beginning with Jeff Bezos – the richest person alive.
For the purposes of this list, we looked only at the billionaires’ direct descendants and excluded grandchildren. Notably, this methodology means that some high-profile billionaires’ grandchildren – including François Pinault’s grandson of the same name, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers’ grandson who was called “The Prince of L’Oréal”, and the Walton grandchildren – are not in the round-up.
Keep reading for a look at some of the wealthiest heirs.
Wang Jianlin, one of the richest men in China, has a son in his early 30s.
Jianlin’s son, Wang Sicong, is the only heir to his US$22.6 billion fortune. Previous reporting from the South China Morning Post said that while he has already inherited some of his family’s wealth and works as an investor, he is not interested in leading his father’s company.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person, has four children with his former wife, MacKenzie Bezos.
In April, the couple announced they had finalised the terms of their divorce. The two have three sons and one adopted daughter together. Jeff Bezos has a net worth of US$156.7 billion. Following the divorce, MacKenzie Bezos’ net worth totals US$36.7 billion, thanks to 25 per cent of the former couple’s Amazon stock.
Bill and Melinda Gates have three children together: Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe. Their eldest is 23 years old.
Since founding Microsoft, Gates has accumulated a massive fortune of US$96.5 billion. Now known for their philanthropy, the Gates family is ranked No 2 among the richest people. Previous reporting from Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback said that the couple’s eldest daughter, Jennifer, attended Stanford University. An accomplished equestrian, she is now 23 years old.
Rory, the couple’s only son, turned in 18 in 2017. His younger sister Phoebe, still in high school, attends the private Lakeside High School in Seattle.
Bill and Melinda Gates – along with the billionaire Warren Buffett – are responsible for the launch of the Giving Pledge, which saw some of the richest people promise to give away the bulk of their wealth. According to Business Insider’s Áine Cain and Allana Akhtar, “Each of the Gates’ kids will inherit about US$10 million of their parents’ US$98.1 billion fortune, while much of the rest will go to charitable causes.”
Bernard Arnault, the richest person in Europe, has five children. Three of his heirs are under the age of 30.
All but one of Arnault’s five children are involved in his luxury-goods empire, LVMH. Arnault has two children in their 40s from his first marriage, along with three younger sons from his second marriage.
His younger sons are Alexandre, Frederic and Jean. According to previous reporting from Business Insider’s Katie Warren, Alexandre (age 27) is the CEO of LVMH’s Rimowa luggage label, while Frederic (age 24) is a director at TAG Heuer – LVMH’s largest watch brand. Bernard's youngest son, Jean, is the only heir not yet involved in the company.
The retail mogul Amancio Ortega also has two older children from his first marriage; his youngest daughter, Marta – his only child from his second marriage – is in her mid-30s.
Once the richest person in the world, Ortega is now ranked sixth with a net worth of US$62.7 billion from his clothing conglomerate, Inditex. Known as the Zara heiress, his 35-year-old daughter Marta is involved in her father’s flagship company.
According to The Telegraph, “Marta acts as a senior creative consultant on all Zara Woman collections, and evidently has first pick of the new clothes before they hit stores.”
Marta recently received a lot of media attention for her high-profile wedding, which was dubbed the “wedding of the year” by Spanish publications.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison has two children: a 33-year-old daughter and a 36-year-old son.
Ranked No 7 on Forbes’ billionaire list, Ellison’s net worth exceeds US$62 billion. Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported that both his children have already inherited millions of stock shares from their father’s NetSuite and Oracle companies. In addition, Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback reported, “Ellison gifted his daughter Megan a multimillion dollar inheritance on her 25th birthday in 2011, which she used to found a production company, Annapurna Pictures.”
Both children have become successful filmmakers: Megan Ellison was praised as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2014 for her work on independent projects such as Zero Dark Thirty, Her and American Hustle, while David Ellison has been involved in major action movies including Star Trek Beyond.
Larry Ellison has also signed the Giving Pledge. Previously reporting from Business Insider’s Madeline Stone and Biz Carson said, “Larry Ellison has committed to giving away 95 per cent of his wealth to charitable causes, especially to his medical foundation.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has two toddler daughters with his wife, Priscilla Chan.
Zuckerberg and Chan have two daughters together. The couple’s first daughter, Max, was born in 2015; their second daughter, August, was born two years later in 2017. Zuckerberg’s net worth totals US$62.3 billion, making him the eighth-richest person.
Zuckerberg and Chan have both signed the Giving Pledge. Business Insider’s Biz Carson previously reported that the couple plans to give away 99 per cent of their Facebook shares to their joint Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Michael Bloomberg has two daughters, 36 and 40 years old, with his former wife, Susan Brown.
Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg and former New York City mayor, is the ninth-richest person, behind Zuckerberg. His net worth totals US$55.5 billion, and because he signed the Giving Pledge, just a small part of his massive fortune will be passed on to his two daughters, Georgina and Emma.
Georgina was featured in the 2003 documentary Born Rich.
Larry Page has two children, who are around eight and 10 years old, with his wife, Lucy.
Google co-founder Page’s children were born in 2009 and 2011. Business Insider’s Rachel Premack previously reported, “Page is so private that we don’t even know if the younger child is a boy or a girl. The older child is a boy.”
Page founded Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford graduate Sergey Brin. Another signer of the Giving Pledge, he is ranked No 10 on Forbes’ billionaire list and has a net worth of over US$50 billion.
Mukesh Ambani is the richest person in Asia and has three children, all of whom are in their 20s, with his wife, Nita.
Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, has a net worth of US$50 billion.
All three of his children, Anant (age 23) and twins Isha and Akash (age 27), are involved with the company. Isha married the 33-year-old real-estate and pharmaceutical heir Anand Piramal in December 2018, which involved many extravagant events, including an engagement party on Lake Como, private performances from John Legend and Beyoncé, and a ceremony with 600 A-list guests.
Like his Google co-founder, Sergey Brin has two children in junior school. Brin was previously married to Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of 23andMe.
Brin and Wojcicki married in 2007 and divorced in 2015. They have two children together. Their son, Benji Wojin, was born in 2008; their daughter, Chloe Wojin, was born in 2011.
The children are set to inherit a large fortune. Wojcicki’s net worth is around US$440 million; Brin’s net worth totals US$53 billion, making him the 14th-richest person.
Steve Ballmer has three sons with his wife, Connie.
Now retired, the wealthy Microsoft exec married his wife, Connie, in 1990. They have three sons. Ranked No 19 on Forbes' list of billionaires, Ballmer has a net worth of about US$48 billion.
Ballmer served as Microsoft’s CEO from 2000-14. He owns the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team.
The tech mogul Michael Dell has four children with his wife, Susan – their eldest daughter is around 26 years old.
Since founding Dell Technologies, Dell’s net worth has grown to US$41.7 billion. Michael and Susan Dell have four children: a son, Zachary, and three daughters, Alexa, Juliette, and Kira. All four were raised in the family’s home – nicknamed “The Castle” – in Austin, Texas.
The couple’s eldest child, Alexa, is in her mid-20s and engaged to the millionaire real-estate mogul Arshia Harrison Refoua. She works as an adviser to the Bumble dating app and has a massive Instagram following.
David Thomson – the heir to the Thomson-Reuters fortune – has six children from four marriages.
Ranked No 27 on Forbes’ billionaire list, Thomson’s net worth is US$32.5 billion.
He inherited his fortune from his grandfather, who founded the media and publishing company. The family is Canada’s richest family. One of his daughters was cited as one of “Toronto’s richest kids on Instagram”.